WILMINGTON, DE – A Pelicans lineup in a state of flux looked as such in the first of three against the Wilmington Blue Rocks in Delaware.
On a day the Birds were informed they'd be without three of their regular starters this season for the next 50 games, a sluggish Myrtle Beach offense could only scratch out one run against a tough John Lamb in a 4-1 series-opening loss at Daniel S. Frawley Stadium.
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Pelicans regulars Yoel Campusano, Gerry Rodriguez, and Amadeo Zazueta had been suspended 50 games each for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. With two new faces in the offensive lineup in recently signed first baseman/outfielder Mike Jones, formerly of the 2009 Salem Red Sox, and infielder Dan Nelson, who saw time this year with the Potomac Nationals, the Pelicans could only rack up five singles in the loss. Jones, an imposing 6'3", 220-pound left-handed bat, hit cleanup on Friday night in his first action of the 2010 season after being released by the Boston Red Sox organization in spring training and went 0-for-4. Nelson, who started his 2010 with Double-A Harrisburg, went 0-for-3.
Myrtle Beach did take the game's first lead in the third inning, and the Pelicans did it without a hit. One-out walks to Samuel Sime and Ryan Barba coupled with a Sime steal of third set the stage the game's first run when Cole Miles grounded into a fielder's choice to score Sime and retire Barba at second. That, however, would be all for the Pelicans' offense.
Blue Rocks starter Lamb , a 19-year-old lefty making his Carolina League debut, struck out nine over six impressive innings while issuing just that pair of third-inning walks and limiting the Birds to four hits. His offense came alive in the fourth when Patrick Norris tripled to open the frame and scored two outs and four batters later on a Salvador Perez double. In the sixth, Wilmington put Lamb in a position to win with two more tallies. Jamie Romak smacked an inning-opening single and scored from first on a Jamar Walton three-bagger to give Wilmington its first lead of the night. Walton scored on a Perez fielder's choice groundball to extend the lead to 3-1. Pelicans starter Matt Crim worked the longest outing of any Myrtle Beach pitcher this season but saw a frustrating trend of good starts gone unrewarded continue. Crim (2-3) became the first Pelicans starter this year to go beyond seven innings—before Tuesday, the Pelicans hadn't had a starter complete seven and have now had four do that in their last five games—but surrendered all four runs earned on eight hits in the loss.
Lamb (1-0) gave way to Patrick Keating to start the seventh, and Keating responded with three innings of shutout, one-hit ball. The right-hander from the University of Florida faced the minimum in his three innings of work to pick up his fourth save of the season.
The Pelicans and Blue Rocks continue their three-game series Saturday evening at Wilmington's Frawley Stadium. Myrtle Beach will send spot starter Yeliar Castro (2-1, 7.43) to the mound in his second start of the season against Tim Melville (1-5, 8.64) for the second game of the set with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM. "Pelican Pregame" kicks off with Tyler Maun at 5:45 PM on ESPN Radio The Team and MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.
The Pelicans return to the Grand Strand on Tuesday, May 25 for the first of a six-game homestand with the Lynchburg Hillcats and Wilmington Blue Rocks. The three-game set against Lynchburg opens up with Dollar Hot Dog Night on the 25th. Fans can enjoy $1 dogs all night long Tuesday along with the next installment of the Pelicans Team Tuesday Poster Series.
For tickets, contact the Pelicans box office at (843) 918-6000 or (877) 918-TIXX or by visiting the Tickets page at MyrtleBeachPelicans.com.